Tips for Preventing Alzheimer's
Prevention starts with maintaining better brain health in
general. That is what most of the following suggestions aim at.
Although some are not proven to specifically prevent Alzheimer's,
they are all like to have some beneficial effects in any case,
and some have specific evidence for them as noted.
Physical and Mental Exercise
2000 people took part in a study of the effects of physical
and mental exercise on brain health. It was found that those
who engaged in high levels of reading, physical exercise or even
just regular conversation with friends were 38% less likely to
get Alzheimer's disease.
Both physical and mental exercise increases blood flow to
the brain. This may help it maintain itself and strengthen connections
between nerve cells. Also, the evidence shows that we continue
to produce new neurons throughout our lives, in response to mental
and physical stimulation (referred to as brain plasticity or
neuro-plasticity). This building of additional capacity may help
prevent the worsening of many age-related brain problems.
Eating Better May Help
There is evidence that any sustained reduction in blood flow
to the brain may increase the risk of getting Alzheimer's. This
is why brain health may depend on arterial health, which in turn
depends on a good diet which prevents cardiovascular disease.
In general, this means eating more fiber, fruits and vegetables,
and less saturated fats.
Many researchers are convinced that free radical damage plays
a role in Alzheimer's developing. Free radicals are highly reactive
molecules, and can be counteracted by a diet high in antioxidants.
Vitamin C and vitamin E most be the most important of these.
You can take supplements, but it is probably better to get more
antioxidants through fruits and vegetables like citrus fruits,
strawberries, tomatoes, grape juice, nut of various sorts and
"good" vegetable oils (olive and canola).
Light to moderate drinking of wine (especially red wine) may
also help. A Danish study followed 1,700 people over the age
of 65 and found that those who drank at least one glass of red
wine per week had a lower risk of developing Alzheimer's. This
may be due to the antioxidants in red wines - which you can get
from grape juice as well.
Preventing Alzheimer's - Other Tips
Stop smoking. It tends to impair circulation, so it is possible
that it may increase the risk of several brain function problems.
Keep your head safe. Head injuries may increase the risk of
Alzheimer's later in life, according to some evidence.
Treat depression. Depression is linked to higher cortisol
levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can cause damage to
the brain when it is at high levels over time.
Treat high blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure under control
and lowering the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your bloodstream
may play a role in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer's